VA Lawmakers React to Voting Rights Decision

Jun 25, 2013

Virginia lawmakers are trying to figure out how Congress should respond to the Supreme Court's decision to strike a section of the Voting Rights Act.

Civil rights abuses in Virginia was a part of the reason Congress passed the Voting Rights Act in 1965. The state had been dominated by racist politicians who sought to disenfranchise minorities.

Virginia Democratic Senator Mark Warner says some officials in the state still try to put up barriers on Election Day.

"Some of the lines at polling stations and other problems we've had, not just in Virginia but around the country and efforts to try and restrict voting by use of extra identification, I get worried when the Supreme Court acts in this fashion," says Warner.

Democratic Senator Tim Kaine says that the good news is the court didn't take out "the core of the Voting Rights" Act. They did, however, remove the part of the law requiring states like Virginia to get federal approval before changing voting laws. Kaine says localities should now fill that void themselves.

"I would encourage every jurisdiction currently covered to continue to submit their changes to DOJ for pre-clearance. And to do it to show their constituents that they re not afraid of being reviewed to make sure that they re protecting the voting rights of all," says Kaine.

In July, the Senate Judiciary Committee is scheduled to hold hearings into the Court's decision.